Manufacturing Masterclass

An Optimised HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning) helps ensure that an indoor environment is both safe and comfortable for its occupants. The main purpose is to deliver air quality to occupant comfort levels as efficiently as possible.

But what are the specifics to look for in manufacturing?

Air Infiltration

Airflow through open loading docks and doors wastes energy in manufacturing facilities. To reduce energy losses, make sure that the doors are closed and sealed whenever possible. Another option is to use doors that automatically close if left open. In doorways with so much traffic that even rapidly opening doors would be too slow, strip curtains are an inexpensive solution.

Radiant Heaters

One challenge with efficiently heating a manufacturing facility is the wide range of functions and spaces in the facility. If a large facility has a small section used as an office, people working there will expect a reasonable indoor room temperature year-round. The same applies to individuals working on a loading dock on a cold winter day. Maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout the entire space can be costly and inefficient. In these situations, mount gas or electric radiant heaters (also known as beam or panel radiant heaters) above or near the areas that require heat, keeping workers comfortable even with the building air as low as 40° to 50°F (4° to 10°C). These devices provide heating comfort to people directly in front of them, but they aren’t designed to raise overall air temperature.

Large Ceiling Fans

If a space is cooled, high-volume, low-speed ceiling fans save energy by improving air circulation. These fans allow you to raise the temperature by as much as 4.5°F (2.5°C) while still maintaining occupant comfort. If the facility is heated, warmer air will naturally stagnate near the ceiling where it won’t do much good. Change the direction of ceiling fans to circulate the heated air vertically.

Reflective Roof Coatings

If the roof of your building needs recoating or painting, consider white or some other highly reflective colour to minimize the amount of heat the building absorbs. This change can often reduce peak cooling demand by 15% to 20%.


If your facility doesn’t already have a cogeneration system—also called combined heat and power (CHP)—consider installing one. These systems simultaneously supply heat and electricity from a single fuel source. By design, they’re very efficient and produce power at double the efficiency of power delivered from a central plant. Cogeneration systems are commonly found in plants with large heating or cooling needs.

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